The San Francisco sheriff’s office is taking a new approach to its staffing shortages: On Thursday, the department announced it is joining forces with the U.S. Army to recruit former soldiers to join its ranks.
The agreement, which was signed by Sheriff Paul Miyamoto and Gen. Michael Garrett yesterday, will make the San Francisco’s sheriff’s department a participant in the Partnership for Youth Success program that will send enlisted soldiers and ROTC cadets, who have completed a period of active duty, into careers as sheriff’s deputies.
The recruits, like other sheriff’s deputies, would also have to graduate from the police academy. The sheriff’s office operates county jails, manages supervised release programs, and provides security in courts, hospitals, and City Hall.
“We know the skill, discipline and work ethic that are required to be a deputy and to be a soldier,” Miyamoto said. “So this partnership is truly a win-win.’
The sheriff’s office spokesperson Tara Moriarty told Mission Local that the department has been working on the partnership for a year, in part as a “proactive approach” to recruitment in the face of dropping staffing levels over the past two years. Moriarty said the department is currently operating with 78 percent of its recommended level, with about 850 employees on its payroll now.
“City hiring freezes, stricter City vetting processes, which have increased hiring periods, long commute times and the high cost of living, particularly housing, in San Francisco” all have contributed to reductions in staffing levels, according to Moriarty, although this phenomenon has been echoed by law enforcement departments nationwide.
While the sheriff’s department says this partnership is the first in San Francisco, other law enforcement agencies, like the California Highway Patrol and the Los Angeles Police Department, actively recruit military veterans to join their ranks, and some receive incentives to do so.
The U.S. Department of Justice’s COPS Hiring Program, a federal grant program offering competitive funding to law enforcement agencies, prioritizes agencies that commit to hiring military veterans.
Active duty officers from around the country will be guaranteed a job interview with the sheriff’s department after their first term of service, typically around two to four years. Bay Area applicants with a “history of being invested in their communities” will be prioritized, Moriarty said.
The PaYS program sends soldiers into careers with about 1,000 other organizations around the country, according to the sheriff’s office press release, including tech companies like Tesla and Facebook.